K. G. T. Webster

About the Collection

Medieval literature scholar, Dr. Kenneth Webster, devoted his academic career to the study of medieval romances, castles and the art of war. To support his research on early European castles, Dr. Webster assembled a collection of 614 published works. Guidebooks, pamphlets, handbooks, historical and literary society proceedings, and beautifully illustrated full-length monographs form his very focused collection. As well as collecting titles on specific castles, Dr. Webster collected related works on ancient monuments, architecture, archeology, military history, geography, topography, heraldry, battle accounts, and city plans. The texts are in Latin, English, French or German depending, in most cases, on the location of the castle. The most comprehensive coverage is on castles in England and Germany and a relatively strong representation  of Scottish, French, Welsh, Swiss and Irish castles.

Collection Highlights

Highlights of the collection include Giacomo Lanteri’s, De Modo Substruendi Terrena Munimenta ad Urbes… (Venice, 1563); George Ruxner’s, Thurnierbuch das ist… (Frankfurt, 1579); Wann und umb Wellicher Ursachen Willen das Loblich Ritterspil… (Augspurg, 1518); P.M. Contarini’s, Corso di Guerra et Partiti de Guerreggiare e Combattere… (Venice, 1601); William Woolnoth’s, The Ancient Castles of England and Wales (London, 1825) and a skillfully bound set of Francis Grose’s, Military Antiquities Respecting a History of the English Army (London, 1812).


The collection about castles that Dr. Webster had casually initiated as a way of keeping track of literary references in medieval romances became a discrete and comprehensive research collection in its own right. Overtaken by time, Dr. Webster was not able to bring to fruition a planned illustrated inventory of all pre-1400 European castles. By leaving his collection and research material to Dalhousie, Dr. Webster has enabled future Dalhousie mediaevalists the opportunity to take up the task.

More from Vessels of Light: A Guide to Special Collections in the Killam Libraryby Karen E. M. Smith.